Make Your New Year’s Resolution SMART


Several years ago I swore off New Year’s Resolutions. (Yes, I see the irony of that.) The annual hopeful energy and inevitable late-winter decline was a cliché, and I was too cool for all that. So I steadfastly ignored Auld Lang Syne and set personal goals willy-nilly throughout the calendar, with varying success.

But as we enter a new year and a new decade, I am struck by the moment and by a desire to turn a new page and even to turn over a new leaf (how’s that for a cliché?). So then, how do we avoid the mid-February dissolution of our resolve? Make a SMART* resolution. Here’s what I mean:

SPECIFIC – What exactly do you want to accomplish? For example, instead of “get in shape” try “be able to run 10K” or “lose ten pounds.”
MEASURABLE – How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Quantify it and set a date.
ACCOUNTABLE – You are more likely to succeed if you are held accountable. You can accomplish this by using coach, a success team, or a buddy system. In each case, you publish your commitment with that person and have them hold you to it.
RESONANT – Your goal must be in alignment with your values, and it is helpful to identify the core values that you are honoring by keeping your commitment to that resolution. What is at stake for you? Make sure your resolution is meaningful.
THRILLING – Here’s where a lot of resolutions fall short: they have no energy, no zing, they are boring. So as you resolve, turn up the heat a notch and go for something you want so much that you can’t wait to get started.

Okay, I know we’re a week into January, but go ahead and resolve … and be SMART.

*This alternative to the traditional corporate SMART Goals comes from CTI, where I trained as a coach. The less inspiring version includes “attainable, realistic and timely.” While I don’t favor setting goals that are wildly unrealistic and unattainable, I am inclined to favor reaching and stretching over playing it small. So go for it!